Beginning My Research in Lima, Peru: Performance as a Memorialization


I came to Peru to conduct research with Grupo Cultural Yuyachkani, a popular theater group based in Lima. In fusing aesthetic and theatrical activity with collective memory, Yuyachkani’s performances, such as Rosa Cuchillo, Adíos Ayacucho, and Antígona, address issues of memory and trauma after Peru’s internal armed conflict primarily between the Peruvian government and the members of the Marxist-Maoist organization, Sendero Luminoso.

During my first week in Lima I met with Juan Carlos Buezo de Manzanedo Reategui, a lawyer who worked as a volunteer on the Final Report of the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which was presented in 2003. As part of his work, Juan Carlos, along with other young lawyers, traveled to some of the villages most affected by the internal armed conflict and worked closely with the victims in order to collect testimonies. Meeting with Juan Carlos and discussing his work with Peru’s TRC made me think not only about the importance of remembering and memory after trauma, but the ways in which we, as a society, remember. Processes of memorialization, trabajos de memoria, and truth gathering are numerous, and I find myself wondering whether one type of memory project is more effective than another (i.e. formal documentation vs. other forms of memorialization, such as museum or art exhibitions and performances) or if they complement each other.

In Quechua, Yuyachkani means “I am thinking, I am remembering”; therefore, I hope to ask some of Yuaychkani’s actors how embodied performance serves as a memory recuperation project. For instance, how does a performance like Antígona reflect this idea of “I am remembering”—active memorialization?

Posted by Lorena Reategui – MA Candidate at CLACS

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